Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

October 15, 2010 10:14 ET

Minister Ritz Maximizes First Agriculture APEC Meeting & Protects Canadian Wheat Access to Indonesian Market

NIIGATA, JAPAN--(Marketwire - Oct. 15, 2010) - Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz is in Japan at the first-ever Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Agricultural Meeting working to strengthen trade relationships, expand market opportunities for farmers and create a more prosperous Canada.

"Recognizing the need for a safe and dependable food supply as the world population grows, we're at APEC to drive a science-based approach to trade," said Minister Ritz. "By promoting innovation, like biotechnology, Canada is looking forward to a future with stronger trade partnerships, a more sustainable environment and more profitable farmers, making sure that families around the world continue to have access to top quality food."

Minister Ritz is taking full advantage of APEC by holding bilateral meetings with agriculture leaders from China, Mexico, and South Korea. Minister Ritz, together with provincial representatives from Canada's New West Partnership, met with his Japanese counterpart Michihiko Kano and raised Canada's long-standing request for greater access for Canadian beef. They also sat down with Japanese industry to discuss how to better help get Canadian products in the hands of Japanese consumers.

"We're working at every level — provincial, federal and industry — to make sure countries like Japan and South Korea trade based on sound science and that our hard working beef producers achieve the full market access they deserve," said Minister Ritz. "Our Government knows that if Canadian farmers have a level playing field they can compete and succeed, which in turn stimulates our economy, creates jobs and increases prosperity for all Canadians."

In advance of APEC, Minister Ritz led a trade mission to Indonesia and received assurance from Agriculture Minister Suswono that Canada's world-class system — which ensures that various plants such as wheat and potatoes destined for food are safe — will be fully recognized. This achievement is good news for farmers as it removes additional, costly and unnecessary testing at Indonesian ports. The Canadian Wheat Board anticipates that Canada's wheat exports to Indonesia will be valued at more than $300 million this year.

Canada and Indonesia also signed an agreement to improve agriculture cooperation and focus on removing trade barriers to various Canadian products including seed potatoes, goat and sheep livestock and genetics, and cherries. Indonesia will enlist Canada's animal health expertise to help build testing capacity in order to maintain a healthy cattle sector.

"We know Canadian farmers grow safe, high quality wheat and our Government is doing its part to make sure it can get to markets around the world without costly and unnecessary impediments," said Minister Ritz. "By building closer partnerships we are better positioned to mitigate risks and drive a science-based approach to trade, helping dismantle trade barriers, brick by brick, clearing the way for safe, dependable and high quality Canadian products."

Minister Ritz also made a stopover in Hong Kong to follow up Canada's recovery of full market access for Canadian beef last December. Minister Ritz met with industry and was pleased to report that Canada's beef exports to Hong Kong have significantly exceeded expectations. The Canadian Beef Export Federation originally expected the market to grow to $65 million but it is now expected to be worth more than $105 million for Canadian producers in 2010, a growth of 67 per cent since full market access was achieved.

This agriculture trade mission is part of Minister Ritz's overall strategy to work with industry to strengthen Canada's market share around the world, making sure that Canadian farmers can make their money from the marketplace and continue to drive Canada's economy.


As part of the Government of Canada's overall strategy to make sure Canadian farmers can continue to deliver their high quality products to kitchen tables around the world, make their money from the marketplace and drive Canada's economy, Minister Ritz is working to reinvigorate international agriculture markets. Farmers and processors export about half their production, and our Government is working hard to grow new markets for them around the world.

Over the past year Minister Ritz partnered with Canadian agriculture industry representatives on various trade missions that have resulted in breakthroughs for the beef, pork, pulses, wheat and grain industry.

Examples of key accomplishments include:

  • Missions to the United States, Mexico, Cuba, Russia, Japan, Hong Kong, China, South Korea, India, Indonesia, Morocco, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Peru, Guatemala, Colombia and the European Union to open and expand market opportunities for Canadian farmers and exporters:
    • reopened and expanded access for cattle, beef, beef products and/or bovine genetics in China, Hong Kong, Colombia, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Panama and Singapore,
    • reopened and expanded access for Canadian pork and/or swine in China, Malaysia, Mongolia, Russia, South Korea, the Philippines, Ukraine, Armenia, Moldova, Albania, Azerbaijan, Brunei, Croatia, Indonesia, Jordan and Thailand,
    • secured agreement with India to find a long term solution on pulse fumigation while ensuring uninterrupted supply of pulses to India,
    • made historic progress on agriculture partnerships with China enabling Canadian beef to be served there for the first time in almost a decade,
    • developed new opportunities in China for up to $500 million in sales for pulses,
    • achieved extension of transition measures that allow continued canola trade in China,
    • gained access for Canadian animal product exporters to the Philippine market worth an estimated $20 million,
    • signed an MOU with Turkey to drive exchanges in science and technical information,
    • signed an MOU with Mongolia to strengthen agricultural cooperation and commercial relations, and,
    • signed agreement with Indonesia to pursue cooperation in various areas of agriculture and food, such as plant and animal production, and research and technology.
  • Free Trade Agreements signed or concluded with:
    • European Free Trade Association (Switzerland / Liechtenstein / Iceland / Norway), Panama, Peru, Colombia and Jordan.
  • Ongoing Free Trade Agreement negotiations with many trading partners, including:
    • the European Union, the Canada-Central America Four Countries (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua), South Korea, Ukraine, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Dominican Republic, and Singapore.
  • Exploratory free trade discussions with:
    •  Turkey and Morocco, and the endorsement of a joint study with India recommending negotiations be initiated toward a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.
  • Strongly supported supply management through:
    • action on Article 28 under GATT to limit imports of milk protein concentrates,
    • commitment to bring into force the WTO Special Safeguard provisions, and,
    • established cheese compositional standards to make sure real milk is an ingredient in Canadian cheese.
  • Active participation in the WTO agriculture negotiations to eliminate export subsidies, reduce trade-distorting domestic support, and increase market access.
  • Defended the interests of the cattle, hog and meat sectors by launching a WTO dispute settlement process over the U.S. mandatory country-of-origin labelling (COOL) legislation and by maintaining a frank and open dialogue with the U.S. on this issue in the best interest of farmers on both sides of the border.
  • Requested WTO consultations, and then a dispute panel regarding Korea's ban on Canadian beef imports.
  • Demonstrated leadership by agreeing to host the next Cairns Group Ministerial Meeting.
  • Established the Market Access Secretariat to coordinate government and industry efforts to open and expand markets.
  • Provided $88 million for the AgriMarketing initiative to help Canadian producers, processors and exporter associations develop and implement long term strategies and undertake activities such as international market development, brand building and industry-to-industry trade advocacy.

Contact Information

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Media Relations
    The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
    Meagan Murdoch
    Press Secretary